Translated From Nos Racines By Ky Stratoti #1854

text found at library at Tilbury Center, Ont.

      The history of the Phaneuf family could begin with these words, "Once upon a time.....". A chance happening and human nature came together and lent a colorful and unique air to this family history.
      Our history begins with the birth of MATHIAS in England, in the small town of Farnsworth -- not too far from Manchester, England. An Anglican, like others, Mathias was greatly influenced by the severe religious rules, to join the ranks of the Puritans.
      It was thought that he was amongst the passengers on board the Mayflower in December 1620, but this doesn't seem possible, since he was too young at that time. There is no doubt, however, that Mathias Farnsworth was " living in America about 1628. He settled in Lynn, Massachusetts, then later on he went to live in Groton, Conn. with his family.
      He cleared enough forest land to enable him to take care of his family, which consisted of three children from a first marriage and seven other children born to him and his wife MARY FARR. Mathias died in 1689; his wife, Mary, in 1717.
      In order to follow the trail of the Phaneufs, we must concentrate on Mathias, the second-born child of Mathias (I). Mathias (II) was born in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1649 (the name of his mother is unknown). He married SARAH NUTTING in 1681. They had at least 5 children. One of these children was Mathias (III) who was born in Groton, Conn. on 6 August 1690. In 1700, the family lived near Deerfield, Massachusetts. It was here, on 11 August, that Mathias (III) was captured during one of the many raids waged by the Canadians and Indians against the English villages.
      This young boy could neither read not write. Unfortunately, he could neither speak French nor could he speak the language of the Indian tribe that adopted him.
      What was the fate of this child? If he was not to be killed, it was necessary that he be converted and that he be integrated into the world of New France. The priests of Saint Sulpice Seminary in Montreal obtained Mathias' freedom from the Indians. On 10 January 1706, he was baptized. His godfather was CLAUDE DE RAMEZAY, then governor of Montreal, and his godmother was ELISABETH SOUART, wife of CHARLES LEMOYNE of Longueuil. Mathias took his godfather's name as his baptismal name. The family name underwent its first transformation: Farnsworth became Farneth. In October of that same year, Mathieu-Claude Farnet requested his naturalization papers (at the same time as):
JEAN LAHA, resident
PAUL OTES, shoemaker
ANDRE FRAY, resident

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JEAN USS, resident
JEAN MAKING, resident
JEAN OHE, resident
      Documents found, in 1912 by Brother Élie [originally Joseph Stanislas Zephirin Phaneuf (1875)], professor at Mount Saint Louis College, as well as research done by Mathias-Claude Farnets' [other] descendants proves that Mathias obtained a land grant, which was given to him by his adopted family, the Seminarians, and particularly by Abbe FRANCIS VACHON of Belmont. A legal document confirms the age of this young man as 21 "to obtain for the named Claude-Mathias, Englishman, who is in the employ of the Brothers of the Sault-au-Recollect Mission, after having been snatched from the hands of the Indians who held him as a slave, with the understanding that he would remain in New France and live a Christian life."
      This condition was essential because the land was being given to a man who was not yet legally a citizen of this country. He didn't receive title to the land until March 1714. JEAN CHARPENTIER received his land grant on 19 July 1711.
      These two men each received a half of about 6 arpents of land which had belonged to JACQUES LEMOYNE DE SAINT-HELENE. The land bordered the Prairie River on L'Ile de Montreal. On 14 September 1713, Mathias added three more arpents to his land holdings, and on the following September 25, he signed a marriage contract with CATHERINE CHARPENTIER, daughter of his good friend Jean Charpentier and FRANCOISE HUNAULT.
      At the time of his marriage, Mathias Fanef owned a home, land, which was 3 arpents and two perches (rods) along the riverfront and forty arpents deep; also a four-year-old cow in good health. Catherine's dowry was equally rich because her parents gave her "for the hard work and many services they had received from their daughter"; the Following items: --land, one half arpent (three by forty deep) adjoining the land of her future husband; two bulls, eighteen months of age, a four-year old cow, an 18-month old pig and two sheep to supply their clothing needs for the future.
      The young couple was married on October 2 by ROBERT GAY, Seminary priest from St. Joseph de la Riviere-des-Prairies. It was there that the four daughters and eight sons of Mathias Phaneuf and his wife Catherine were born. In 1764, the family moved to Saint-Antoine-sur-le-Richelieu, where Claude Mathias was buried on 8 August 1773 - he was 83. Catherine Charpentier Phaneuf died on the night of 29 June 1777 and was buried the next day - she was 88 years old.
      The Phaneuf family quickly spread out along the Richelieu River. Some of the descendants of Claude Mathias Farnsworth/Farneth/Farnets/Fanef/Phaneuf/Faneuf(f) returned to New England where one of them, unaware of his origins and the history of the Farnsworth name, which he could have assumed (not wishing to have a French-sounding name) chose Makenine for his family name!

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